Chapter 17 | Joy and Gratitude

london flags hanging on a line

Overflowing with joy.  BRITANNIA I LOVE YOU.

SFStudios got the most brilliant news! We are eligible for a grant and that it has been warranted! It is unbelievably good news!  A mix of joy, relief, disbelief and wanting to burst out in tears. However, I have decided to do cartwheels instead.

To think that this country gave me the chance to enter (with a backpack and sleeping bag on my shoulders) and live here for 2 years with a visa that allowed me to work and travel.  To basically have the time of my life, aged 24, and then finding myself in a position two years later of wanting to stay longer – yes there were many palavas with passports, visa’s and standing in queues, living with uncertainty – but being issued with another visa enabling me to do so. Here I am today, living in the UK, which I call home now, 19 years later. SA is the home of my soul in many ways, however ‘my life is in London’.

The UK has given me the opportunity to open two businesses, to develop my businesses and to continue to do so. Now, when times are very tough, the government is truly supporting a small business like ours. It is extraordinary really. Never in my life have I been given a grant, except when I performed well at university; those grants were based on performance not on ‘struggle’. I am feeling very humble and sincerely grateful. The grant gives you hope, it makes the ‘tough’ worth it, it spurs you on to continue to fight and it relieves a massive amount of immediate financial pressure. With the ease of pressure, you can conduct yourself in a calm and mannered way, you can think and plan clearly and it strengthens your disposition for making good decisions.

I have and have had so many opportunities living in London, it really does feel to me that the world is my oyster. I have access to so much information, courses (even if I tried my best I could not fit in all the courses and learning opportunities that I want to pursue) creativity, art, performances – any form and any shape – the list is endless.

Everyone spoke a foreign language to me when I arrived.  My first survival strategy was to understand (I was never warned about the multitude of accents, it felt like listening to different languages). Survival strategy number two was to make myself understood (a hefty task). Thanks the pope I worked with my hands, so the faster I could get the patient on the couch the better.

However 95% of the time I have been treated with respect, patience and support to the point where I feel 100% fully included and integrated. Now, I even think and write in English – who would have ever thought that to be possible.  To feel that you belong in a country and a community and to feel that you are adding value and that you are being valued as a member of that nation must be the biggest accomplishment in my life. The UK gave me possibilities and enabled me to live my dream.

I am blessed. SFStudios, including all of our clients, are blessed.

Can the government do better? Yes, I am sure they could improve in many ways.  Can we find reasons to criticise? Yes, many, if that is what we are looking for. In my eyes, I think they have and are doing incredibly well. Look at the NHS, look how society has adjusted to the new social norms etc.  Still, we have choices, we are allowed to go out for a walk and we have the ability to make decisions that we feel aligned with and we are able to take on the responsibility (I am not talking about the exceptions, I am talking about the majority of people that are adhering and being consciously aware and responsible).

I felt that I wanted to express my gratitude and I wanted to share our great news with you all. It is good news for all of us.

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